Even if you were a gold medal athlete in your younger years, it can be difficult to maintain a regular exercise routine as we get older. One barrier is simply finding the time – particularly if you are still working at a full- or part-time job, spending time with kids and grand-kids, and attending social gatherings.
Staying fit can not only help us to remain in good physical shape, though, it can also be beneficial for our emotions, our heart and other internal organs, and even to our overall well-being.
But doing just any exercise won’t help. In fact, as we age, there are some types of fitness that can actually be unsafe. So, before you hop on the treadmill or grab the nearest set of free weights, it is essential to know what is and isn’t good for you.
My personal preference to exercise has always been a combination of yoga and weightlifting. When I was in my 50's, the weightlifting took on a new dimension for me...I got really big from just staying in generally good shape with weight training to adding a lot to my physical dimensions...FAT and MUSCLE!
Well I had to re-evaluate things after having a heart attack at 54, and went back to a normal frame by shredding 40+ pounds and not trying to be Hercules lifting stupid amounts of weight like I used to.
Anyway, according to Silver Sneakers, a program that encourages older adults to participate in physical activities (and that is also covered by many Medicare Advantage plans), some of the exercises that can cause negative issues for those over age 60 include:
- Leg Press – While the leg press is meant to provide you with muscular thighs, this particular exercise can give you the illusion that your lower back is protected, when in reality it’s not. So, by pushing on a heavy weight with your legs, discs in the spine can become damaged.
- Crunches – Another exercise that can be difficult on your back is the basic crunch. This is particularly the case if you do multiple repetitions.
- Running – Even if you’ve been running since you were a kid, jumping into a long distance routine at an older age can end up causing tension in the knees.
So, what are some of the items you can keep on your fitness list when you’re over 60?
One of the very best options is going for a walk. Not only does walking encourage good posture, but it can also help the connective tissues in your hips, ankles and feet. Another exercise in the “plus” category for those in their 50s and 60s is squats, which can increase your lower body strength and preserve muscle tissue.
And if you haven't ever tried TRADITIONAL Yoga, you will be pleasantly surprised how your body feels after a session. I am personally not a fan of the trends to make Yoga into an aerobic experience that the West has added to it. This form of exercise has been around for thousands of years and has a lot more merit than any deviation of it that has shown up in gyms!
Anyway, before starting any type of exercise program (or any new program, if you are already an exercise regular), it is recommended that you first talk with your doctor. Because everyone’s body ages differently, a medical professional can help you determine what should and shouldn’t be on your workout agenda.
See you at the gym!
The 7 Worst Exercises for Older Adults. By Lou Schuler. https://silversneakers.com/blog/worst-senior-exercises/